Search Engine Confidential


Reader Brian Beck passes along the story of Dan Peng, a Princeton student facing a multi-million-dollar lawsuit from the Recording Industry Association of America. Peng ran a website that made it easier to find music (and other files) online; therefore, the RIAA argues, he was facilitating the illicit exchange of copyrighted material.

Similar suits were filed this week against three other students at two other universities. According to the RIAA, their sites were "local area Napster networks" that were "designed to enable widespread music thievery." A kinder observer might describe them as fancy search engines—and might wonder just what sort of precedent will be set if the suits are successful.